The third team to preview in the AFC East is none other than the New York Jets. The Jets have been in a rebuild for the last couple of years, and after a completely lousy season a year ago, the Jets are looking for answers.
The Jets actually do have some strengths, primarily on the defensive side of the ball. The Jets defensive line, consisting of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams has been a position of real strength for the last few seasons. Although Richardson has been in the center of trade talks the last couple of years, he has remained productive. The Jets secondary was awful a year ago, but with their first round draft choice, safety Jamal Adams out of LSU, their secondary should immediately be leaps and bounds ahead of what they were last year. The Jets also added safety Marcus Maye out of Florida to pair up with Adams at safety.
The Jets have a lot of weaknesses. First and foremost, the quarterback position. The Jets have been shuffling through quarterbacks for what seems like an eternity, but second year man Bryce Petty did play fairly well last year. It has been reported Jets legend Joe Namath is calling for the team to turn to former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg. That’s where the other weakness comes in. If Hackenberg is to be granted a starting role, he would desperately need a line to protect him. The Jets offensive line is awful and for someone like Hackenberg who took a beating in his Junior year at Penn State, it had many questioning if he was “shell-shocked”. If so, the Jets need to do everything to build that line. Another area of weakness is the overall playmakers on offense. Matt Forte is going to be 32 and I’m not sure how much he has left. Wide receiver Eric Decker can’t stay healthy and the tight end position has been missing in action for a long time in the Jets offense. Whoever the heck is playing quarterback is going to need some firepower if they want to have even the slightest chance of success. The last area that is a concern is the cornerback position. Darrelle Revis was a disaster a year ago, and the Jets parted with him a few months back. They are turning to a younger group which should be better, especially with the safety help the Jets added in the draft.
Players To Look Out For:
There are two guys I’m really interested in seeing for the Jets and they come at the wide receiver position. Both are rookies; ArDarius Stewart from Alabama and Chad Hansen from California. Both have incredible playmaking ability, and Stewart really has the tools to be a number one wide receiver in the league. Both are going to need time, however, and both are going to need someone to play consistently at quarterback. Defensively, I think it’s easy to say, but Jamal Adams has defensive rookie of the year written all over him. He’s a ball-hawk with a tenacious feel for the game. He has big play ability and loves to be in the heat of the battle. Adams is going to be a very productive safety in head coach Todd Bowles’ defensive scheme, and could quickly become one of the best safeties in the league.
The Jets really are in no position to contend for a playoff spot yet, but they do have some silver linings on their roster. The biggest question in 2017 is “who is going to play quarterback and can they play well enough to solidify themselves as the franchise guy?” Time will tell. This is a team that needs probably two or three more solid draft classes to really make that push. They are depleted on the offensive line and need a few more corners and linebackers before they can really start the playoff conversation. For now, it will be interesting to see how this young team comes together and if they can bring back some of that “Gang Green” feel on defense.
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